World Bulletin / News Desk
Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi did not attend a Monday court session – where he faces espionage charges – for "security-related reasons," a judicial source has said.
The source added that a second defendant, Rifaa al-Tahtawi, Morsi's former chief of presidential staff, did not show up for Monday's court session either, for the same reasons.
The judicial source quoted the trial judge as saying that the Interior Ministry had told the court that Morsi and al-Tahtawi would not be attending the session for reasons related to security.
On December 18, Egypt's prosecutor-general referred Morsi, three of his former presidential aides, and 31 Muslim Brotherhood leaders to a criminal court to answer espionage charges.
The 35 men, including 14 being tried in absentia, are accused of "conspiring" with Palestinian faction Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah to carry out a "terrorist plot" in Egypt, according to a statement issued by the prosecutor-general's office.
The defendants also face charges of financing terrorism and committing acts deemed "harmful to Egypt's security and integrity."
On December 20, a Human Right Watch official described the charges against Morsi as "fantastical."
The Egyptian authorities have launched a wide-ranging crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which Morsi hails, ever since Morsi's ouster by the military in July of last year.
Since then, thousands of Brotherhood leaders and members have been rounded up and accused of "inciting violence" and taking part in attacks on police stations and Christian churches.
The Brotherhood, for its part, emphatically denies the allegations, accusing the authorities of making politically-motivated arrests.Last Mod: 29 Eylül 2014, 13:33